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Waterless Pie Crust

I discovered—by accident—how to make pie crust without using water. First, however, here are a few words of context for those who never made crust from scratch.

What turns pie crust into dough (something you can roll out) is a little water you add to the flour and fat mixture. Recipes caution to use just enough to get the dough to hang together. Too little and the dough cracks; too much and you risk making your pastry tough. Typically, I usually ended up adding the maximum amount of water and while my crust was good, it never achieved the ultimate in flaknitude.

When a friend strongly encouraged me to try using a food processor, it was a revelation. The food processor did a much better job of mixing, and it allowed me to add much less water. I thought I didn't have that much more to learn until we got a tub of lard from our CSA. I made a crust with half lard and half unsalted butter and put it in the food processor. To my amazement, in the time it normally took to blend the fat and flour, I had dough in the work bowl! This dough was moist and didn't crack at all, but it was sticky and extremely fragile. Chilling it made it possible to roll out, but it didn’t make it into the quiche dish in one piece, I can tell you, although it was easy to repair. It did produce an extremely flaky crust, however. Next time, I will stop blending early and add just a little water.


Hmm, I've never tried making my own pie crust, maybe it's about time. On a lard-related note, did you ever have those potato chips that are fried in lard? Wow, they're really tasty.

Tony, last night I was eating from the bar menu of Philadelphia Fish & Company and they have a lobster roll for $15. I didn't get it (I can't say I have the same obsession that you do) but as soon as I saw it I thought of you.

Melissa, I haven’t tried those chips, but I’m sure I would love them. Philadelphia Fish serves the best lobster roll in Philly, although that’s not saying much. Still, it’s fairly authentic, and I recommend it. My review is here (scroll down about halfway).

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